OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Nebraska will not file charges against two car dealership executives accused of stealing more than 80 vehicles off their own lot in the town of Scottsbluff, an official said Saturday. Jan Sharp of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Omaha said his office has notified Scotts Bluff County authorities about the decision. He said federal prosecutors have offered to help the state in prosecuting its case against the two executives. Three Legacy Auto Group executives were arrested in March on suspicion of theft and title fraud after the missing cars and trucks, worth more than $2.5 million, were found in Utah, Wyoming, Las Vegas and Scottsbluff. Charges against one of them were dropped earlier this fall. In November, western Nebraska prosecutors had also dropped all state charges against the remaining two, Rachel Fait and Allen Patch, to clear the way for possible federal charges. They had been set to face trial on dozens of state charges of theft, attempted theft and certificate of title violations. They had pleaded not guilty. Scotts Bluff County’s chief deputy county attorney at the time, John Childress, had said then that he would likely refile state charges if the U.S. Attorney did not to pursue it. The state statute of limitations is three years, so Childress said the delay should not be a problem. The Scotts Bluff County attorney’s office was closed Saturday and no one could be reached for comment. County attorney Tiffany Wasserburger told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald she had received the letter from federal prosecutors. She said her office continues to investigate the case. At the time of their arrest, Patch and Fait said they were simply liquidating their inventory because the Legacy Auto dealership was struggling and in the process of being sold. Toyota Financing reported the cars stolen because the executives had not notified Toyota about the plan to sell the vehicles. Toyota representatives told police that it appeared the Legacy Auto executives were attempting to convert the cars into cash. Prosecutors also questioned the executives’ explanation because Patch and Legacy Auto would have lost a substantial amount of money if they had paid off Toyota after selling the cars because of the costs involved and the amount owed. The Legacy Auto dealership has since been sold to Wyoming-based Fremont Motors.
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